Projects | March 20, 2024

Safaricom and Worldreader Partner to Bring Digital Books to Kenyan Families


Partnership to see over 2,000 Kenyans access BookSmart app at no data cost for the next three months.

March 20, 2024 – Nairobi, Kenya

In a joint effort to bring the transformative experience of reading to Kenyan families, Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) and Worldreader, an international edtech nonprofit, have launched an initiative aimed at promoting literacy and fostering a love for reading by availing high-quality children’s books to Kenyan families on their mobile devices via the BookSmart app

BookSmart is a family reading application available in Kenya that offers over 3,000 high-quality books and activities for children aged 3-12 in several languages, including English and Swahili. More than a library, BookSmart is a complete reading experience – with each book completed, readers improve their reading comprehension, learn valuable social-emotional skills, and become more digitally literate.

When children read with adults it stays with them for life and increases their potential for future success. This partnership represents the power of putting reading in the hands of all families so they can prepare their children for their greatest potential.

Olivia Kimani, Director of Partnerships and Services in Kenya, Worldreader

Over the next three months, over 2,000 Safaricom subscribers will be able to access the BookSmart app without incurring data usage charges, meaning that the data they use will not count towards their data plan or mobile data usage. Customers can sign up via

This initiative, which is harnessing the power of technology to make quality children’s books accessible to Kenyan families, aligns with our purpose of transforming lives and our commitment to promote digital inclusion. It also underscores the importance of collaboration in driving positive social impact.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom

Teaching children to read at an early age holds immense potential in shaping their future. However, in Kenya, a staggering 80% of 10-year-olds are unable to read and understand a simple story, and most families don’t have children’s books in their homes.

With BookSmart, children can learn from stories they care about, accessing books about sports, friendship, adventure, science, heroes and Akili Kids favorite stories at the touch of a finger. It features books from local, regional, and global publishers and media companies including Longhorn Publishers PLC, East African Educational Publishers Ltd., Kenya Literature Bureau, Booktalk Africa, Ubongo International, Storymoja, and more.

Today, BookSmart is accessed in homes spanning over 100 countries across Africa, India, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States and has supported more than 22 million readers to reach their potential through the power of books. BookSmart is available for free download in any app store and for web access at

About Worldreader

Worldreader gets children reading so they can reach their potential. The international edtech nonprofit works with partners to support families, school teachers and educators, and community influencers reading to and with children, because regular reading leads to improved educational outcomes, stronger emotional intelligence, and higher earning potential. Since 2010, Worldreader has supported over 22 million readers in more than 100 countries. In 2023, Woldreader was awarded the US Library of Congress Literacy Award, International Prize for its work in advancing global literacy.

About Safaricom

Safaricom is the leading telecommunication company in East Africa. Our purpose is to transform lives by connecting people to people, people to opportunities and people to information. We keep over 45 million customers connected and play a critical role in the society, supporting over one million jobs both directly and indirectly while our total economic value was estimated at KES 393 billion ($ 3.1 billion) for the 12 months through March 2022.

Listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and with annual revenues of close to KES 310.9 billion ($2.3 billion) as of March 2023. Safaricom provides connectivity through wide range of technology, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G in aggregate covering over 99% of Kenya’s population.

We run the world’s largest mobile payment system and Africa’s largest Fintech, M-PESA, the world’s first mobile money transfer system. By empowering over 30 million customers to transact, save or borrow money through their mobile phone, M-PESA has driven financial inclusion in Kenya to 83.7% in 2021 of the adult population from a low of 26.7% in 2006 and generated over KES 117.2 Billion ($886 million) in revenue as at FY23.

Our subsidiary, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia is deploying world class network and services and is planning to roll out mobile money services in 2023, to contribute to Ethiopia’s digital transformation.

Safaricom is an equal opportunity employer, actively recruiting staff from different backgrounds reflecting the communities that we serve. We are committed to equal gender representation at all levels. Our target is to achieve 50:50 senior management gender parity by 2025. As part of our ongoing commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we continue to work towards improving energy and resource efficiency in our network and facilities to reduce carbon emissions and our fuel consumption. We remain committed to becoming a Net Zero carbon-emitting company by 2050.

Media Contacts

In East Africa
Olivia Kimani, Director of Partnerships and Services
Contact Olivia

In the United States
Wendi Yen Huestis, Chief Advancement Officer
Contact Wendi

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